Gone is what was given. At least, that’s what the statistic tells us: of 146 times there has been a 3-0 in a playoff tie, 146 times the team that had such an advantage has prevailed. No one, ever, has been able to turn around a playoff of such dimensions, of such caliber, in the history of the NBA. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen this year, with the Mavericks tired and with a foot and a half out of the Finals after a historic season from the point of view of the franchise and the project. The Warriors know them all, they are not (far from it) the Suns, they have an innate ability to solve limited situations and also to manage important advantages, destroy the opponent by exploiting their defects and advance, always advance, changing situations, making substitutions and with the fundamental pillar of the memories of victory in a series of preclear minds, who accompany players as legendary as they are clairvoyant when it comes to doing what they do best: winning.
If all goes well, the Warriors can fix the series on the fast track (Tuesday night through Wednesday) or back to chase Center if the Mavericks’ punch allows them to prevail and stay alive for at least a few more hours, in a situation that will be similar to the one the Nuggets experienced in the first round. of course, against the Warriors. The Texans are tired, almost exhausted, have reached their first Western Finals since 2011 with 13 games played (out of 14 possible), and have already 16. They had it in the second game when they managed to command 19 points, but they could not hold the advantage. And they have had it, to a lesser extent, in a game in which they have been condemned again by the rebound, the exit from the break, and the inexperience, in addition to the collapse of Reggie Bullock and the disappeared Maxi Klebber in the triple: 0 of 12 combined.
The Warriors started flying, they didn’t give in to environmental pressure or the eternally standing bench of the Mavs (who received a new fine after the second round). Nor to the white jersey of Tim Hardaway Jr., who refused to put on another one by referee request before the duel but this time did not confuse Steve Kerr’s players: 9-19 start, but recovery of the Mavs thanks to a triple that Doncic unlocked on the horn (22-25). The Mavs made a point of leaving in the second period (39-31), but without the conviction or faith of the series against the Suns. The legs are getting more and more tired, the ability to escape against a team of such magnitude by history and names is complicated and the result adjusted to the break (47-48), was again favorable to the Warriors in the third period: 21-30 for a 68-78 that left things open, but for which the Mavs no longer had a reaction. In total, +31 for the Warriors in the third quarter of the three games, with advantages of 10, 12, and 9 points respectively.
The Mavericks’ attempts to get closer were futile. Jason Kidd was entrusted to a quintet without pivots, with Spencer Dinwiddie (great game with 26 points), Jalen Brunson (20+ 5+ 3), Dorian Finney-Smith (9), Reggie Bullock (0 of 10 in shots and 0 of 7 in triples) and Luka Doncic. That’s not how things worked even though Kerr gave in and sat down an immeasurable Kevon Looney, who started since Draymond and Curry proposed such an option from the sixth game of the series against the Grizzlies: 9 + 12 + 4. The Warriors extended the possessions, were accurate in their resolutions, did not fail from the personal (22 of 25), and ended the conatos of the rebellion of the Mavs, who arrived alive until the last minute thanks to a triple from the corner of Dinwiddie that sowed certain doubts (99-104). It was just a mirage: Jordan Poole’s three-pointer (which ended with 10 points and 5 rebounds) and a 100-109 final that put the 3-0 and left the Mavericks shivering and on the verge of elimination after adding their second home loss in all the playoffs, the first with Luka Doncic, who was not in the first against the Jazz in the first round.
The win allows the Warriors to boast of going 26 straight playoff rounds by winning at least one game away from home and brings Steve Kerr closer to another milestone: not losing any Western Conference rounds since taking the reins of the team in 2014, almost nothing. Stephen Curry put in a stellar performance (31+5+11), Draymond added a new technique again (the third of the playoffs, leader along with the already eliminated Chris Paul in this aspect) but calmed down afterward (10+5+5), Klay threw badly but produced well (19 points on 18 shots) and Andrew Wiggins made the game of his life in the final phase: 27 points, 11 rebounds (first 20+10 of his playoff career), 3 assists, 6 offensive rebounds (14 from the Warriors, who martyred the Mavs in second chances) 3 assists, a kill for the annals on Doncic and a +22 with him on the court. Nothing could be done by the Texans, also outscored in assists (28 to 18) and without answers at the end despite the meritorious effort of Luka Doncic: 40 points (21 in the last quarter) and 11 rebounds. The Slovenian simply does not give for more. On Wednesday, the Mavs will try to stay alive and the Warriors reach the sixth Finals of their undisputed dynasty. One more chapter in some extraordinary years. Now it only remains to be seen when the end of the Mavericks will come. That, in one way or another, has curdled an incredible season. And that, no matter how this ends, is a truth like a temple.